Computers have become a part of everyday life, without them many things we take for granted like Sniper Country and the "In Review" page would not be possible...
One facet of shooting that has great interest is both internal and external ballistics and the interrelated field of hand loading which requires a certain pre-requisite knowledge of both to be a successful shot.
I have quite a number of conventional reloading manuals and have always had a slight dislike for them. Pages flipping over while sitting on the reloading bench, data which becomes either incorrect or obsolete with time, requiring a "new" edition to take up more space on the shelves in my loading area.
I am one to gather useful data whenever and where ever it may be found, and the ability to access the Internet and World Wide Web certainly allows just about anything to be found, or learned.
The Hodgdons web page can get you on track pretty fast, and for those with limited access to the Internet or non-linked PC's at home or work they offer a solution.
The Hodgdons Blast v2.0 ballistics and Loading data program is compiled in what appears to me to be a very easy to learn and use format.
For example. My computer system took about three minutes to load the CD, install the program to the hard drive, and having some familiarity with Windows based applications start cranking away at extracting data for my favourite cartridges.
Naturally, the very first cartridge that I researched was the .308 Winchester. This is a pretty much step by step guide using Blast v2.0.
Loading the program gives you the general liability clause and the selection of "Continue" or "Quit" click once on Continue to enter the program.
This brings up the main navigation window and seven "button" selections to chose from:
Once the Main Navigation window is opened you click on the "Cartridge Load Search" Window, which is a fill-in-the-blank or use pop up screens format, select rifle or pistol, and then type in or scroll down the list of selected cartridges and click "Search"
This gave me a cumulative total of 93 loads, 61 being with Hodgdons powder, 10 Alliant powder, 13 with IMR, and 9 with Winchester powders. The projectile weights ran the gamut from 110 gr plinkers to 200 gr. Hunting type slugs.
By going to the next window entry "Bullet Weight", you can narrow the search parameters to say 168 gr. or 175 gr. bullets, select a "Powder Brand" and "Type": like Varget and tap the "Search" button again and the loads are listed within a couple seconds.
In this case one particular load range is given, by clearing the entries and just entering 175gr. And hitting search again five loads are shown with Hodgdons powder.
I then ran the .300 Winchester Magnum through the program and received 87 loads for similar weight bullets to the .308.
On a whim I typed a search for 155 gr bullets and was rewarded with a "hit" for seven differing loads. 180 grain gave 10 loads but entering 190 gr. gave only four entries, all for the HORNADY BTSP, which amazed me. Sierra Match Kings or Game Kings did not show up, nor some of the other popular hunting bullets like Nosler, or Blount/CCI/Speer.
If you are interested in the flight characteristics of the ammunition, a "Mini-Me" version of the Barnes Bullets Ballistics software for calculating trajectory is included although a bit rough compared to some of the others available. This program will allow the user to calculate the ballistic coefficient of a bullet quickly via a fill-in-the-blanks window listed as "Coefficient" button - this can then be input with the velocity figures to obtain a data table that lists:
Range Path Angle path Velocity Energy Wind Time
My only dislikes with Blast: The lack of ability to "cut & paste", or Copy data for transfer for other uses, and the current lack of product upgrades via a website download. I'm sure Hodgdons will resolve this soon.